Cambodia, the other flood crisis


A Cambodian boy rows through floodwaters at a village 20 kilometers east of Phnom Penh on October 25, 2011. Over 700 people have been killed and eight million affected by heavy flooding across Southeast Asia, the United Nations said on October 18, adding that it stood ready to provide humanitarian relief. Torrential rains have pelted Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, cutting off roads and destroying homes and crops.



As Cambodia shifts into what's supposed to be dry season -- a period of milder temperatures and rainless months -- much of the countryside is soaking in floodwaters.

The media attention poured on Thailand has overshadowed serious flooding next door in Cambodia. According to United Nations estimates, roughly 8 percent of the population -- about 1.2 million people -- have been affected by ongoing floods. (Some estimates run as high as 1.7 million.)

Drawing comparisons with Thailand's crisis, the New York Times describes a "Darwinian struggle and a generally higher degree of desperation among villagers" in Cambodia.

Though Thailand's government is accused of mismanaging Bangkok's flood relief, Cambodians must contend with a ruling cabal that is much more corrupt, far less competent and hugely reliant on international aid. The Phnom Penh Post reports that food in some provinces is scarce and that the U.S. embassy in Cambodia will put $1.5 million into flood relief.

And if malnutrition and homelessness weren't bad enough, rural Cambodia should also brace for a wave of diseases brought by the flood, according to a report from ABC News Australia.